By : Travis Brenner
Are you thinking about selling your home? If so, Iowa law requires sellers to make certain disclosures about the condition of the property. Failing to make the required disclosures may subject sellers to unwanted litigation and legal liability.
Iowa Code chapter 558a covers the required real estate disclosures when selling a home. Under this chapter, a person selling or transferring real property shall deliver a written disclosure statement to the person interested in purchasing the home. This statement is commonly referred to as the “seller disclosure form.” This disclosure form should be provided to any potential buyers prior to the buyers making a form purchase offer. The goal of the form is provide potential buyers with information regarding any issues or problems the seller has had with the home. It would be a good practice to fill out the disclosure form when you list your home for sale.
The required disclosures should include information relating to the condition and important characteristics of the property and house, including any structural defects. The disclosures may also need to include zoning information, the condition of the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, or the presence of pests. Other types of information that should be disclosed include:
- Infestations of pests (mice, bats, snakes, spiders, roaches, etc.)
- Water problems in the basement
- Lead paint, radon levels, asbestos
- Easements and covenants
- Health hazards to occupants
As a seller, it is better error on the side of caution and disclose the information. There are pre-drafted seller disclosure forms available online that can assist you in making the requisite disclosures. However, if you have questions or concerns on what needs to be disclosed when selling your home, we have experienced real estate attorneys that can help.
Please note that these disclosure requirements only apply to the transfer of residential real estate (1-4 dwelling units) and not manufactured/mobile homes that are considered personal property.
ABOUT TRAVIS BRENNER
Travis has been a law clerk at Hartung Schroeder for the past year and will join the firm as an associate attorney upon completing his JD and MBA at Drake University. Some of his experience includes assisting clients with forming nonprofit organizations and other business entities as a student attorney in the Drake Legal Clinic. In the future, he hopes to develop a real estate practice that will complement the firm’s diverse areas of practice.